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Taiwan symphony orchestra earns praise in Japan debut

10/17/2023 12:44 PM
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Members of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra thank the audience after the concert in Tokyo Monday. CNA photo Oct. 16, 2023
Members of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra thank the audience after the concert in Tokyo Monday. CNA photo Oct. 16, 2023

Tokyo, Oct. 17 (CNA) The debut of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra (NTSO) in Japan on Monday drew a nearly packed house that included Japanese musicians who thought highly of the performance.

With over 90 percent of the seats in the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall filled, the NTSO opened the concert with Mikhail Glinka's "Ruslan and Ludmilla" Overture, and then followed it with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35.

Taiwanese violinist Tseng Yu-chien (曾宇謙) was the star of the violin concerto with a performance full of creative ideas arranged in multiple layers that reflected his maturation eight years after winning second prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

The orchestra then performed a highly anticipated suite titled "A Century of Taiwan Music."

It featured a series of Taiwanese folk tunes arranged by composer Chang Ching-shan (張菁珊) that included late Taiwanese composer Lu Chuan-sheng's (呂泉生) "If we open our mind's eyes," Hakka folk music composed by late Taiwanese Hakka musician Tu Min-heng (涂敏恆), and the Indigenous melody "Green Ali Mountain."

The medley, which represented a bridge of understanding and sentiment between Taiwan and Japan, had been one of the concert's main draws for the Japanese audience.

The orchestra then concluded with Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, Op. 45.

Among those who praised the medley of Taiwanese songs and the orchestra's performance was visually challenged Japanese flutist Shotaro Goto, who expressed his admiration for Taiwanese folk music and for the orchestra's overall excellence.

"I think the NTSO should be more confident because it is on the same level as its Western counterparts," Goto said.

Renowned Japanese cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi said he was glad he attended the concert and was very impressed by Tseng's performance of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.

He also praised the NTSO event as a huge success, saying he could feel the affection and overall joy shared by the audience.

Chou Shyue-yow (周學佑), an official with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, said he thought the event was an excellent way to showcase Taiwan's soft power and help improve Taiwan's international image.

The next NTSO concert will be held in Osaka on Thursday, according to the NTSO's website.

(By Chao Ching-yu and Oscar Wu)

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